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Predictions for storage management in 2014: Part 2

February 4, 2014 by Steve Wojtowecz

Yesterday, I posted my initial thoughts on storage management trends and what I see happening for 2014. It’s an interesting time for enterprise IT because the pace of change—always fast in technology! – is actually accelerating.

The innovations we’ve seen recently aren’t just broad (touching many areas), they’re also deep (affecting how services are delivered in a very basic way). And in 2014 we’re going to see that continue to develop.  Consider the growing acceptance of (call this what you want, software defined environments – SDE, software defined datacenter, software defined IT, etc, it all means the same thing)…. the various elements of an IT infrastructure being virtual and delivered as a service.  SDE represents a deep form of change; instead of tying fixed resources to particular IT domains, you centralize and virtualize resources, then govern them with software policies.  Now, “software defined” will gain considerable traction now that each domain (compute, network, storage) can become virtualized.  Why?

–       Organizations across all industries continue to experience huge growth of data

–       They’re motivated to retain more information than ever, for any number of reasons

–       Efficient data management requires the least amount of physical storage HW possible

Vendors and IT shops will begin to stitch the solutions together across domains to effective deliver and manage the software defined services to support their business needs.  I recently read an IDC report (I can’t seem to find it now or else I would post the website link here…) on the Intel hardware market.  They tracked what had happened over roughly the period of VMware’s rise to power. With Software Defined Compute (SDC where VMWare plays), worldwide spend on x86 stuff since 2000 has declined from $70B to about $56B. Environmental spending on power and cooling has leveled off, staying flat since 2005. That doesn’t suggest that fewer workloads are on x86 now (quite the opposite we know), it suggests a massive commoditization of the hardware and revenue shift to SDC. The same phenomenon is going to happen (has to happen) in storage.  Data is growing faster (a lot faster) than storage HW vendors ability to keep up with real density improvements. Clients have to store that data and clients are not going to grow their IT budgets as fast as their data is growing (or as fast as the imbalance between their data and areal density improvements are growing).

What’s driving the growth?  Object data is the fastest growing type of data – along with file – and organizations in 2014 will need to realize, understand, prepare and build a plan to store object data, or they will be stuck playing catch up. This increase in data growth will also drive demand for low cost storage of low performance and secondary data.  The net-net?…  the price of storage is going to have to commoditize.  So what does this mean?  Quite simply, I expect clients to shift to buying cheap and cheerful commodity storage capacity — and managing it under some sort of Software Defines Storage (SDS) layer.  The storage HW market may well decline (like the x86 market did) but the SDS market will increase in a hurry.

What are your predictions for storage management in 2014? Leave us your thoughts in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter at @steve_woj.